The buttersnake man chirps out a foul odor, emanating from somewhere deep in his gut.
He is over sixty years old, and his skin is leathery and stretched.
There are millions of miles of veins and thick coils of flesh and bone in this body.
The buttersnake man is skinny, emaciated, and rotten to the bone.
He points at them and lurches towards them, cracking his knuckles like someone about to perform a routine physical.
He has no teeth and the mucus dripping from his nose is yellowish-white.
The man grabs a rock and slams it against the wall.
A crackling noise fills the room.
His eyes are glowing.
He then takes out a long, curved knife, he holds it above his head and glares at them, and then he makes a sound of hunger, growling, and hissing, and then he prepares to eat them.
Juan and Renata look at each other, then at the kids.
They would be eaten alive, right?
After all, the buttersnake man probably wouldn’t eat the kids if they did nothing.
And if they did, wouldn’t it be dangerous for them to interfere?
They wouldn’t have enough power to get away.
It was possible that the children could end up back in that house, and become food for the monster.
But that was risky.
If the adults saw them, they might come to save the kids.
And that could be a huge risk to the children, and an even bigger one for the adults.
Who was to say they would survive?
At that moment, the walls of the house collapsed, and a flaming skeleton raced toward them.
The kids screamed and sprinted in different directions, but they couldn’t run fast enough.
The skeleton was shooting fireballs at them.
Seth cried out in fear and pain as it set him on fire.
He dropped his glass cannon and fell to the floor.
His left hand was flaming, and the rest of his body was on fire.
He tried to roll out of the way, but he fell right into the flames.
Shrieking in pain, he rolled to the side and rolled over and over.
He heard one of the glass cannons shattering.
He struggled to his feet and limped towards the doors.
Behind him, he heard the explosion and the glass cannon breaking. He didn’t see where he’d hit it though.
He fumbled on the door and pulled it open.
The room beyond was a field of moss.
He stood there for a moment.
Then, as the dizziness faded, he turned and limped out into the cold night.
He looked back, and for a moment, he thought he saw the lights of a ship upon the water.
He clutched his stomach and gasped for breath, but it wasn’t a ship, it was him.
He was a puppet with limbs.
A giant puppet with a broken eye.
He was bleeding from his mouth.
He looked behind him again, and all he saw was a burnt-out wreck, like a burnt-out wreck of a ship.
A ship that had burned.